A history and working summary of Airsoft
Airsoft as a sport has a long history. It started in Japan in the 70’s before eventually spreading to China and then the UK in the 1980’s. Guns were banned in Japan so people who wanted to do target practice invented the BB or Airsoft gun as a workaround. Today it is a global sport enjoyed by many age groups.
What does it involve?
Airsoft is similar to paintball in its game-play, in that it can have skirmishes, battlefield re-enactments, objectives in the form of capturing a location or a flag, or organised military scenarios based on historical events or scenes from movies. Players usually wear tactical military or police clothing of the day and to the untrained eye it can look identical to the real thing. Activities can take place indoors or outdoors at dedicated facilities around the country. Old warehouses and forested country estates being ideal settings.
Because the equipment and guns are very realistic in appearance there are strict guidelines on where they can be used and how they should be transported. If you want to purchase a replica you have to be a registered UKARA (United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association) member. This is the governing body within the UK that administers all things Airsoft. You must have attended an Airsoft event a minimum of three times within a two month period and you must also be registered at an official Airsoft centre. It is legal to own and play Airsoft in the UK but some Airsoft guns are deemed as RIF’s or realistic imitation firearms. One way of getting around this rule is if you use a gun that is brightly coloured in two tone across the majority of its body or makes use of transparent body components. This instantly sets them apart from real weapons.
Injuries & death
While Airsoft guns use plastic pellets that are propelled by gas they can still cause injuries. Bruises and welts are common and if a high velocity BB gun is fired at an individual who is at close range this can result in an injury that penetrates the skin and causes bleeding. Such injuries have no lasting effects. Nobody has ever been killed by an Airsoft gun but individuals have been shot and killed by police officers who have mistaken their Airsoft weapon for the real thing.
Airsoft guns utilise round plastic pellets, predominantly white but they are also available in black and glow in the dark versions. The favourite weight of automatic electric guns is 0.25g. Heavier pellets are preferred for long range uses. The reason for this is so that the wind does not deflect them. While pellets are used for most guns, foam balls are used for grenade launchers.
Jason Harts shares his keen interest on airsoft guns as an action hobby.